Circle of Life East Hartford

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Dance Instructors at Circle of Life, Arts for All in East Hartford

Fred and Reggie

Fred Charles, Dance Instructor

Fred started his dance career as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio.  He was promoted to the role of Director, assuming responsibility for the Studio’s operation.  In 1963 Fred earned 2nd place in Arthur Murray’s New England Top Teacher Competition.

Fred has taught at the Continental Dance Studio in West Hartford and has taught at the New Britain Adult Education program.  In 1973, Fred opened his own studio, Charles Dance Academy in New Britain, Connecticut.  With the studio’s success, Fred opened a second studio in Meriden, Connecticut.

He has been with Circle of Life since 2005.

Janet Stevens Fournier, Chapeau Rouge, Founding Member

Dancing began for me at age seven.  My best friend, Linda, wanted to join me in my tap class.  She had already missed many weeks of class, so, without knowing any better, I taught her what I knew and brought my friend to class.  I guess I didn’t realize at the time what an unusual accomplishment this was — but Mary Morlock did.  And so it began…dancing tap led to ballet which led to jazz.  This commitment carried me through my college years and into married life.

Early on in my life I realized that in order to be an effective advocate for my children I had to be happy.  Dance gave me that opportunity.  I’ve always tried to impart to my children that they must find their “passion”; something that they can enjoy for their entire life; that ‘something’ that gives their life purpose and gives them the impetus for living life to its fullest.  I am delighted to be a part of Chapeau Rouge.  Dance is the passion that will stay with me for my lifetime and knowing that I might have allowed that same passion to be ignited in someone else is just the icing on the cake!

Chinue V. Govan, Dance Instructor

Chinue V. Govan began dancing and performing at the age of two at the Artists Collective in Hartford, Connecticut.  She turned professional at the age of fifteen by becoming an apprentice, substitute and teacher for the dance program.

Since college, Chinue has continued to evolve as a dancer and teacher.  She has taught and trained students from ages two and beyond in a wide genre of dance.  She has worked for several studios and programs and choreographed for plays, recitals, solos, competitions, pageants, and weddings.  Chinue continues to teach dancers of all ages and levels, from amateur, recreational and professional.  She teaches jazz, tap, hip hop, ballroom, Latin and African/cultural dance.  She also still choreographs for a variety of venues.  She is a company member of Elemental Motions and works throughout New England.

Chinue has been with Circle of Life since 2010.

Mary Cadorette-Harris, Chapeau Rouge, Founding Member

My mother always told me that I emerged from the womb dancing.  Not sure if that is quite true, but it certainly started when I was five.  My older sister had studied with Mary Morlock – but when I started tap, Miss Mary was living in Florida, so I began with another teacher.  When I turned six, she had returned to Connecticut — and that’s when my lifelong, passionate love affair with dance began in earnest.

In 1999, I returned to my native Connecticut when my sweet, precious Mom suffered a massive stroke.  After 20 years in show business, it was time to come home and learn a new dance – indeed the most challenging ever.  My Mom lived with her stroke for eight years — but before she passed away, I had re-connected with Miss Mary, Janet & Lynn and was able to tell her about it.  Her beautiful face lit up when I told her I was dancing again — just the way her face used to light up when I was dancing as a student of Miss Mary’s.  She knew that her little girl would be OK as long as she stayed connected to dance.  She knew that for me, dance is so much more than the sum of the external successes I achieved.  It’s like air: without it, I won’t survive.

In this age of the Baby Boomer, a wonderful trend is happening in the world of dance.  Aging as a dancer is not the “death sentence” it used to be.  Rather, there are many dance companies and classes popping up all over that are geared to the “mature” dancer.  The term “used to be a dancer” is happily being replaced with “I am and always will be a dancer.” That is what Chapeau Rouge is all about.

Return to the living…  Come breathe the air…  Get your butt in class!

Kathy Labella

Kathy Labella, Vintage Dance Instructor

Kathy LaBella studied and taught social dance in the forms of folk, contra, round and square dance for 17 years before developing an interest in Vintage dance.  She took lessons from Mary Ann Herman, Ralph Page, Karen Gottier, David Henry, David Vinski, the Hebert, and Nelda Drury among others.  She and her partner, Ken Jones, became involved with Vintage dance, taking workshops with Richard Powers, known for his research of Victorian and Ragtime dance.  Ken and Kathy were members of the performance group, Prim But Not Too Proper Victorian and Ragtime Dancers.  They continue to perform as the Canal Street Vintage Dance Team.

Kathy currently enjoys working with the Senior Vintage Dancers, a performing group associated with Circle of Life.  She continues to teach vintage, folk, contra, round and square dancing.

Lynn Keating Moreau, Chapeau Rouge, Founding Member

The ‘dance bug’ got me at about age six.  Mom and Dad enrolled me in tap class with the Mary M. Morlock School of Dance, thinking it would be great socialization and exercise.  It was, and, apparently, I was hooked for life.  Tap class expanded into Jazz and Ballet a few years later which further expanded into student teaching, competitions, master classes, and all things Dance.

When Janet and I reconnected with Mary awhile back, we saw that we all were looking for the same thing and missed dancing terribly.  We decided to try getting together ourselves to do the Luigi warm-ups that we had been trained with.  How lucky we were that Mary Morlock, now retired, agreed to take part in our adventure.  Enter our creation… The Chapeau Rouge Dance Project.  A challenging, rewarding and fun Jazz class, and, most importantly, geared toward the 30, 40, 50+++ body.  A class that can be taken at your own, personal level.  We have had the best time with this so far and really want to open up and share with other trained dancers who may have hung up their shoes, figuring they’d never find a class that worked for them.

Allright girls… One More Time!!!!!!!!!

Michael Santiago, Salsa and Latin Instructor

Michael Santiago started his dance career as a dance instructor at Circle of Life: Arts for All, Inc.  After two years he founded his dance company called Foot Work’s Studios.  He teaches authentic Salsa based on a Puerto Rican rich heritage of love for Cuban rhythms.

Michael believes his students should be able to dance with any partner in a social setting, such as a Latin club atmosphere.  He specializes in beginner basics and builds on certain patterns and techniques to lead his students to advanced Salsa dancing.

Michael is well known in Latin dance circles and has performed extensively at such venues as the Latin Exposition and recently at the town wide shows at Circle of Life:Arts for All, Inc.  He has been with the studio since 2005.

George Ziminsk, Ballroom Instructor

George has performed and studied with the Albano Ballet Company, Dance Central, Steps in Time, Footnotes, Woodbury Academy of Dance and Connecticut Dance Theatre in a variety of styles including Ballroom, West Coast Swing, Argentine Tango, Hustle, Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Theatre Arts, Partnering and Country/Western.

George has certifications through NADTA (North American Dance Teachers’ Association), USISTD (United States Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance), NTA (National Teachers’ Association) and has been a member of NEWDA (New England Western Dance Association), USABDA (United States Amateur Ballroom Dance Association) and NDCA (National Dance Council of America).  He is a key member of the dance staff and very involved with the Inter-District Teen Ballroom training and competitions.  George has been with Circle of Life since 2004.

Matt Murray, Ballroom Instructor

Matt Murray became an avid student of dance in 1985 and decided that he would become a certified dance instructor.  He passed his exams and became a member of NDTA National Dance Teacher Association of America.  In 2002 Matt began his career teaching ballroom in Rocky Hill.  In 2012 Matt decided to branch out and concentrate his career efforts teaching all genres of dance.  His goal is to grow the Greater Hartford\ dance community and to pass on to others his experience both as a student and professional instructor. Matt has kept up with the times as new dances become popular and competition rules change.

Matt has always had an interest in the work of non-profit dance studies.  Matt has embraced the Mission of COLAFA and decided to become an independent contract dance instructor at the Center.  He now teaches a group class on Wednesday and Thursdays in Ballroom Smooth and Latin technique for beginners and intermediates who are interested in social as well as competition dancing.  His passion is teaching technique and clean foot work.  Matt believes that training and practice is a life long journey for instructors.  His favorite coach is David Ronzinski and Matt has secured David to teach seminars on Saturdays for all levels of students.

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